A press release from the Country Land & Business Association has urged people living and working in the countryside to ensure that their candidates for Police and Crime Commissioner have an understanding of rural concerns.

Rural membership body for the East, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), is urging those who live and work in the countryside to ensure the candidates standing for Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) have an understanding of rural concerns.

In its briefing ahead of the PCC elections on 15 November, the CLA identified metal, vehicle, machinery and fuel theft, arson, vandalism, poaching, hare coursing, illegal betting and fly-tipping as just some of the crimes that hugely impact rural businesses and communities.

CLA East regional director Nicola Currie said: “Rural issues are all too often overshadowed by urban concerns. Candidates have more potential voters in towns and cities, but they also have a responsibility to look after those in the countryside.

“At this time of year especially, as we move into more hours of darkness, the incidences of equipment and metal theft, fly tipping, livestock rustling and poaching increase greatly in isolated rural communities.”

CLA Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Chairman, James Peck, of Scotland Farm at Dry Drayton, commented: “Rural crime must not be overlooked with the budget cuts. Rural crime in the last 12 months has cost us personally in excess of £10,000. Rural people live in fear they will be targeted and confidence in the police response is low.

“Our local countryside-watch bulletin shows an alarming amount of crime is taking place in a 15 mile radius of our farm. Every week we are targeted. Vandalism from dog walkers has particularly affected us.”

Mrs Currie added: “We are now little more than three weeks before the election, and some candidates have still to make their introductory statement, so we are urging CLA members to research the rural credentials of the candidates in their area.

“It’s very easy to dismiss these new appointments as irrelevant, but it’s only by getting involved that we will get the PCC who can offer us the best future.”

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